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VOLUME:115 No.58, FEBRUARY 14TH, 2018

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SPORTS: COBRAS AND ROYALS CROWNED CHAMPIONS

Nygard ‘outright bribery’ of PLP Court hears letters suggest tycoon had party ‘in his pocket’ By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter nscavella@tribunemedia.net ATTORNEY Fred Smith, QC, has accused Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard of “unadulterated outright bribery” of the Progressive Liberal Party. Mr Smith made the accusation based on documents, submitted to the Supreme Court Tuesday, which have revealed that Mr Nygard, pictured, tried to get former Prime Minister Perry Christie to assist him in solving

several issues concerning his property and expansion plans in exchange for his near $50,000 contributions to the PLP at the time. A letter from Mr Nygard to Mr Christie, then the minister of agriculture, trade and industry on July 10, 1992, shows how the billionaire requested Mr Christie to assist him in bringing a “few housekeeping matters” concerning his property to a “speedy final conclusion”. SEE PAGE FIVE

THE low-cost lots to be made available as part of the government’s plan to boost access to affordable housing for Bahamians will be offered at a cost of less than $30,000, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis revealed yesterday. The Minnis administration also intends to make the plots of land available in May or June, after the

government’s new fiscal budget presentation. While he still did not reveal where the lots will be located, Dr Minnis insisted this plan was certain to deliver big savings to potential homeowners. Last month during a national address, Dr Minnis said the lots would be equipped with the necessary utilities, but buyers are expected to be responsible for building their own homes. SEE PAGE THREE

By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE Farmers United Co-operative, the small group of farmers skirted by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis earlier this week, have demanded a meeting,  “vitally important to our survival” still takes place. The group was turned away from the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday. A video of the incident has since spread across Facebook. In the short video, several members of the cooperative can be seen having a verbal exchange with a Royal Bahamas Defence Force officer outside the Office of the Prime Minister, while another accused Dr Minnis of exiting the building through a side door. SEE PAGE THREE

MOULTRIE SECURE IN CONFIDENCE CHALLENGE

BUILDING PLOTS TO COST BELOW $30K By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter krussell@tribunemedia.net

FARMERS DEMAND ‘MEET US, DR MINNIS’

By KHRISNA RUSSELL Deputy Chief Reporter krussell@tribunemedia.net

LINCOLN Deal and Beth Sherman with a Valentine’s Day message on the beach yesterday. Lincoln, from Nassau, and Beth, from Freeport, both live in Nassau and have been together for two years. Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

THE Free National Movement’s wide majority in the House of Assembly is clear indication of the expected failure of today’s no confidence vote in Speaker Halson Moultrie, Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells suggested yesterday. Mr Wells, who is also leader of government business in the House, said when the sitting convenes, Bahamians will also see the government is intent on continuing with the people’s business. SEE PAGE SIX

THE BOARDWALK, DOWN BY THE SEA By NATARIO MCKENZIE Tribune Business Editor nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday promised downtown Nassau’s revival will have a a Bahamian “flavour”, with Bay Street property owners to fund construction of a harbourfront boardwalk. Dr Hubert Minnis, speaking after a site tour of The Pointe development, said: “There is a downtown

committee looking at the entire downtown project, which includes a boardwalk. They have a very extensive programme and they will involve who they think they need to involve, but it will have a Bahamian flavour.” He was responding to queries over the proposal by China Construction America (CCA), the Pointe developer and Baha Mar general contractor, for a masterplan of downtown

Nassau’s redevelopment. Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of tourism, said yesterday that the “six or seven” Bay Street property owners will fund the development of a boardwalk. “We have already approved a boardwalk that the private sector is going to pay for themselves, going from East Street to Lucianos. All the owners have agreed to do that,” said Mr D’Aguilar. FULL PAGE - SEE BUSINESS

Nassau & Bahama Islands’ Leading Newspaper

BLACK LIVES MATTER HERE TOO SEE PAGE EIGHT


PAGE 2, Wednesday, February 14, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis (centre right) and members of the Cabinet toured ‘New World One Bay Street - The Pointe’ development yesterday. Executive vice-president/CCA South America Daniel Liu (centre) led the tour and updated members of the government on construction progress. Photos: Kemuel Stubbs/BIS

CABINET TOURS THE POINTE

BAHA MAR SEEKS A NEW RECRUIT - TO LOOK AFTER FLAMINGOES By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter rwells@tribunemedia.net

BAHA Mar has launched an international search for a new CFO - chief flamingo officer - according to a release from the mega resort this week. The global search, which is open to Bahamians as well, is inviting candidates with a passion for wildlife, conservation, hospitality and the tropical environment of the Caribbean to apply. In the dream role, according to the release, the new CFO will be responsible for the care-taking of Baha

Mar’s flock of flamingos, arriving at the resort this spring.  Applicants must have a degree in zoology or related field, or equal experience, along with ample knowledge of working with exotic animals, specifically bird species, at an accredited professional environment. Additionally, the new CFO must display a wide understanding of biology, ecology and behaviour requirements of animal species along with animal habitat maintenance, nutrition, and animal observation skills. The selected candidate

will work alongside Baha Mar’s Chief Scientist Vanessa HaleyBenjamin, who runs the resort’s Ecological, Aquatic Conservation Habitat Sanctuary, which is dedicated to preserving and protecting wildlife in The Bahamas. The resort’s release noted: “Here, Baha Mar guests have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment of the Bahamas, taking part in Baha Mar’s commitment to protect, preserve and celebrate the islands.” It continued: “The selected candidate will display a passion for hospitality

and strong people skills, as the chief flamingo officer will not only protect and care for Baha Mar’s resident flamingos, but also lead the design and creation of innovative guest experiences and programming, especially for Baha Mar’s Explorer’s Club, the resort’s kid programming.” Interested candidates can apply by visiting the resort’s website. Persons can submit applications until February 28.


THE TRIBUNE

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, PAGE 3

Building plots to cost below $30k

from page one “There are many Bahamians who want to own homes,” Dr Minnis told reporters yesterday. “Unfortunately, the average home today may cost anywhere from $180,000 and up. That is very cost prohibitive to the average Bahamian and therefore we are introducing a programme and therefore we’ll have lots available right after the new budget (in) May (or) June. “Those lots will be sold with all the infrastructure amenities attached to it and be sold at very, very low prices. So, the only thing that I can say to give you a ball park figure (is) that they will be less than $30,000. Now the exact cost I will not reveal because you know the press tags you to that and so if you can purchase a lot at that price and construct your home duty-free and you remove

all of the second payment and the possible corruption, etc, you will be able to construct your home at a very low price.” He continued: “Because remember the average lot today may cost $100,000 or more so that’s automatically a $70,000 savings. When you are constructing your home you paying duty, you talking about 30 to 50 per cent duty on various things. If that’s at least another $60,000 to $80,000 savings, you’re talking about $70,000 savings another $60,000 to $80,000 savings you’re talking about the average Bahamian being allowed to save at least a minimum of $120,000 when you remove all those extra taxes. “I think it’s a great opportunity for Bahamians to own their own homes,” he said. At the same time, Dr Minnis said this was a chance for development to take place on the Family

Islands where economic activity is slow moving. “It would allow Bahamians in the Family Islands to buy properties for bed and breakfast facilities and again at minimal cost and using the same concept they would now own hotels in the Family Islands and the eco-hotels is where we are going in the Family Islands. We don’t want to find ourselves 15 or 20 years from today where all the second homeowners are foreign nationals and then they are leasing them out as a part of the hotel pool. “If we don’t take charge of that now, 15 or 20 years from today the Bahamian will be marginalised from Family Islands. So recognising that we want to ensure that they are a part of it now moving forward.” He made the remarks following a tour of The Pointe on Bay Street yesterday. Pointe officials have pledged to the government to upkeep an agreement

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.  to employ 70 per cent Bahamians to 30 per cent foreigners, Dr Minnis said. When he revealed the low-cost lot plan last month, Dr Minnis said homeowners had the option to use their own architect or use pre-existing plans offered by the government.

Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

They will also have two years to build homes at duty free concession rates. It has been a longstanding policy of the government to offer lowcost homes to Bahamians, with the Department of Housing facilitating the construction of affordable

housing to low and middleincome Bahamians. Last year, Minister of Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira announced the government planned to spend $2m to complete 300 homes in the Carmichael Village Subdivision during the fiscal year.

FARMERS DEMAND ‘MEET US, DR MINNIS’ from page one

The group shouted as they walked across the parking lot in an attempt to attract the prime minister’s attention, however he got into his vehicle and sped away. Press Secretary Anthony Newbold yesterday confirmed a meeting was originally scheduled with the group, but had to be “reset” due to “last-minute conflicts”. Neither side could say if the meeting was eventually rescheduled.   Caron Shepherd, president of the association of roughly 100 farmers, said while she was “shocked and confused” by Dr Minnis’ actions, there is still a need for him to “come to the table and hear

what we have to say”. Ms Shepherd said the group has not been able to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Matthew and setbacks brought on by a contaminated feed mill. She claimed the group has, for much of the last 18 months, advocated for critical discussions with both the current government and the previous Christie administration. Despite these attempts however, Ms Shepherd said the group has only been fed “lip-service” as successive governments have only attempted to “pacify the drama” week to week. “The frustration is evident,” she told The Tribune. “Farmers came all the way from the Family Island to be a part of this. “There is a nine-month window for farmers to yield

quality crops, June to September, we’ve tried to get this government’s attention prior to last June. “If farmers are to survive, we knew these next few months would be critical.  “We want to discuss everything from subsidies to feed; fences to elements of crime we face. “Simply, we want the government to set up avenues to get our crops and livestock into the local markets and if possible, the international markets. “We don’t want handouts. We want to facilitate operations that would keep our businesses going.” “The farmers are hurting,” Ms Shepherd continued. “That’s what we wanted to get through to the prime minister. We met with the Minister (Renward Wells), but that didn’t

help in any way. Just more empty promises. This was the next step.” Last March, the cooperative presented then-Agriculture Minister V Alfred Gray with its proposal for a $60 million government subsidy to help their operations recover from “the heart-wrenching double whammy” of Hurricane Matthew and contaminated feed mill. The group’s March 27, 2017, letter to Mr Gray requested government financial help amounting to $30,000 per acre of farm land. Estimating that there were around 2,000 acres of land on New Providence being used for agriculture, the co-operative said this equated to a total $60m subsidy. The proposal was never approved. • See Business for more

FARMERS outside the meeting after Dr Minnis’ departure, in this image from a video on social media.

BAR ASSOCIATION ALSO CONCERNED OVER ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE ROLE By RASHAD ROLLE Tribune Staff Reporter rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Bar Association, in a letter to Attorney General Carl Bethel, has expressed “deep-seated concern and alarm” that Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has failed to recommend someone for the substantive post of chief justice. The letter, dated February 13, 2018, came the same day The Tribune reported some senior lawyers are concerned about the matter. Maurice Glinton, QC, Alfred Sears, QC, and Wayne Munroe, QC, have all told The Tribune Dr Minnis’ appointment of Justice Stephen Isaacs as acting chief justice should be remedied immediately. Yesterday, Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis said he too has concerns that the substantive post has not yet been filled. Kahlil Parker, president of the Bar, told The Tribune he did not authorise the public release of his letter to Mr Bethel, and he declined to discuss the matter further when contacted.

Yesterday, Anthony Newbold, the prime minister’s press secretary, said Dr Minnis is acting within his legal authority to appoint someone acting chief justice. “The prime minister, after consultation with the leader of the opposition, has exercised a lawful and constitutional power to recommend the appointment of an acting chief justice, pursuant to Article 95(1),” Mr Newbold said. “The governor general has acceded to that recommendation and made the appointment. The post of acting chief justice is thus an appointment recognised in the Constitution; and the acting chief justice in the performance of his office has all the protections afforded by the Constitution to ensure the independence of the judiciary while he holds that office.” However, Mr Davis hit back at any suggestion he was complicit in the matter. “The appointment is the prime minister’s appointment, not the leader of the opposition,” a statement from Mr Davis said. “When

will the prime minister simply accept responsibility for his own actions or omissions? Every answer to every uncomfortable question is it’s the PLP’s fault. They can’t be serious. I share the concern about an acting appointment for an inordinately long period of time.” When contacted yesterday, Mr Bethel said this is not the first time an acting chief justice has been appointed in the absence of a substantive office holder. “Under the PLP, Sir (Philip) Telford Georges was appointed acting CJ initially,” he said. Sir Philip served as chief justice between 1984 and 1989. In his letter to Mr Bethel, Mr Parker said: “Article 95 (1) of the Constitution may be prayed in aid of the decision to appoint an acting chief justice. However, maintenance of the intended and proper constitutional order requires that

a suitable qualified person be appointed to the office of chief justice and assume the functions forthwith. “It is neither my intention, nor my role, to lecture one as learned as you (Carl Bethel) in constitutional matters and varied requirements of the rule of law. It is however my duty, as chairman of the Bar Council and president of the Bahamas Bar Association, to speak out on behalf (of) the legal profession and the wider public with regard to the administration of justice. “I write to convey, on behalf of the Bar Council and the Bahamas Bar Association, our deepseated concern and alarm that the prime Minister has apparently not yet been advised to recommend a suitable candidate to her excellency the governor general, after consultation with the leader of the opposition, for appointment as chief justice. I have also not seen any invitations for

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applications or advertisements that would suggest the requisite transparent and open selection process, which might have explained the delay. “His Lordship Senior Justice Stephen Isaacs has both served as acting chief justice on several occasions and is himself more than qualified for appointment to the substantive Office of Chief Justice. The status quo, however, is wholly unacceptable. Continued deferment in this matter has a compounding deleterious effect not the perception of the independence of our Judiciary and thereby the rule of law. There is no room for further delay.” The issue of delayed appointments to senior judicial positions has been a controversial matter in Jamaica and Guyana recently. Last year, the president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron, criticised Guyana’s history

of filling top positions in the judiciary with people in “acting” roles, arguing such circumstances are beyond “what ought to be acceptable in a modern democracy where respect for the rule of law is maintained.” Controversy also continues to rage in Jamaica where critics have warned that Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ appointment of an acting chief justice impinges on the independence of the judiciary. Mr Holness’ explanation of his decision prompted a major meeting of judges Monday that effectively brought that country’s system of judicial administration to a halt. The corruption trial of Shane Gibson is being heard in front of Justice Isaacs; Mr Munroe has said given the “political overtures” of the case, he plans to raise concerns about Justice Isaacs’ “acting” chief justice role during the next hearing.

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PAGE 4, Wednesday, February 14, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

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The scandals of Trump’s government READERS with especially long memories will recall the many political or personal scandals which in recent decades have brought down or destabilised parliamentary democratic governments in England, France and Italy among other places.  Sex and greed seem to have been at the heart of most of the European scandals. It was long thought that American politicians and aristocrats might lack the élan and imagination of their European cousins in scandal-worthy behaviour. Maybe this is not true anymore. The Trump administration in Washington is rapidly establishing itself as worthy of high honours in the department of scandal and insensitive recklessness. What may make it all even worse is the cause for much of this official misbehaviour is probably simple disregard for public service by Trump and his miscast band of cabinet miscreants and family members. In its dogged determination to bring down Trump, the New York Times has been maintaining a running log of scandals in his administration. Where does one even begin? How about with the cheater-in-chief? Less than a year ago, he agreed to settle for $25m a class action lawsuit brought by gullible and, later, angrily disenchanted students at his eponymous Trump University. More recently, it was revealed he paid a porn actress $130,000 not to disclose her affair with him. The affair apparently occurred during Trump’s marriage to his current, third, wife. The Times quotes an online pundit on the Trump administration: “Amid the chaos and dysfunction, it can be easy to miss that this White House is corrupt. Remarkably, unbelievably, corrupt.” Here are some examples, many courtesy of the Times. The Times reports that Trump’s Mara-Lago club in Palm Beach doubled its membership fees right after he was elected. Business, especially from foreign officials and domestic lobbyists eager to curry favour with this White House, has been booming at the Trump hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue between the president’s official residence and Capitol Hill.  Defying promises that Trump would not be involved in running his myriad business interests from the White House, son Eric Trump has been briefing his dad every three months on the family businesses. There have reportedly been family business deals done

with foreign governments despite Trump’s pledge not to do so. Meanwhile, Trump has spent $30m of government money on trips to resort properties he already owns. Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka certainly appear to have used their government positions to promote private business dealings. Kushner has apparently leveraged his access to Trump to solicit overseas investors for shaky real estate projects in the US. Several cabinet members have also joined the indiscreet feeding frenzy at the government trough. During the recent horrific wildfire season in the western US, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke drained almost $40,000 from a wildfire preparedness fund to pay for some of his dubious flights. Other suspicious expenses are still being investigated. Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin used taxpayer funds to pay for a European trip that included stops at Wimbledon and Westminster Abbey in addition to a river cruise for him and his wife. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a former Wall Street tycoon with, presumably, sufficient personal cash reserves to cover the expense, notoriously tried to use a government plane to fly to Europe on his honeymoon. Mnuchin reportedly racked up $800,000 worth of travel on private jets from the government fleet.  Former Secretary of Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price resigned after too many free flights on government jets.  Past Trump confidants Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn left the administration after their craven and potentially illegal collusion with foreign governments was disclosed.  More recently, Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson has reportedly not recognized the impropriety of regularly letting his son and other family members mix personal business interests with his official duties.  The director of the Centres for Disease Control, Brenda Fitzgerald, just resigned last month under a cloud of suspicion. The Trump administration is hardly unique or unprecedented in its carelessness and venal corruption. But following the ignominious example of this president, it must rank among the most openly disdainful of the fundamental proprieties of public office and indeed of the public trust. 

Replace the Speaker now EDITOR, The Tribune, The following is an open letter to the Prime Minister. Dear Mr. Prime Minister, Please don’t be distracted or enticed by petty politics or political egos and posturing by the FNM and PLP. We’ve had enough of that in the past. I am writing you as someone who was very optimistic about the future of the country after the last election and genuinely believed that you, sir, were truly about doing politics differently in this country after decades of corruption, mediocrity and failure. The Speaker of the House of Assembly should

epitomise integrity, maturity, fairness and a great deal of emotional intelligence. It is easily the most powerful and demanding position in the House. It is not for everyone or anyone. It has become blatantly clear that your initial choice was a mistake. This is nothing against the current Speaker personally – this has everything to do with the position. Please do not be like every other leader we’ve had who put political expedience ahead of national integrity. We have to believe that you, sir, are different – Step up and replace the current Speaker forthwith. He has shown his true colours and simply cannot

continue - The House has been and will continue to be compromised if swift, concise action isn’t taken. And an apology will serve no purpose. Don’t be distracted by the PLP... They matter little. This is about you as leader of the country - You can be different and do what you know is right and best... Or you can simply be like all the others that have come before you. A slave to the broken dysfunctional political system that has stagnated our country for decades. Do the right thing, Mr. Prime Minister. FARRELL GOFF An Optimistic Bahamian Nassau, February 12, 2018.

Constitution cannot back illegal act EDITOR, The Tribune. IN February 2012, using easy to follow examples, I explained why children born to illegal migrants are not constitutionally entitled to be registered as citizens of The Bahamas. Surprisingly, six (6) years later, neither the government, nor the advocates of illegal migrants, have gotten the message. Sadly, and most regrettably, the Supreme Court, (based on Justice Hilton’s recent ruling) has not gotten the message either. I am quite disappointed and frustrated at the apparent inability (or is it unwillingness?) to correctly parse the law. Both The Nassau Guardian and The Tribune graciously published my letter in February 2012. I have attached the original letter and humbly request that you republish it at your earliest opportunity. I trust that given the current climate, my letter will inform the current narrative and in the process, receive due critical attention and review, especially from the legal fraternity and learned counsel such as former Chief Justice Joan Sawyer.  Thank you.  GENERATION BAHAMIAN   EDITOR, The Tribune. CONTRARY to popular belief, children born in The Bahamas to illegal migrants are not entitled to be registered for citizenship. Two examples illustrate this point: • Example one: Peter buys a car, which he then gives to his wife as a gift. Later, the police determine that the car was stolen and confiscates the car. Peter bought the car in good faith and neither he nor his wife knew that the car was stolen. Is Peter or his wife entitled to keep the car? No! But he didn’t know that the car was stolen, and paid for the car. Still no! Why not? Because the car was illegally obtained (ie it was stolen). A legal act (sale of the car) cannot result from an illegal act (stolen car). So even though Peter and his wife did nothing wrong, they cannot profit/benefit from the illegal act (sale of a stolen

LETTERS letters@tribunemedia.net car). They are not entitled to keep the car. (By the way, a similar situation was recently reported in the media). • Example two: Joseph is a wealthy man. He owns expensive cars, boats, and a big house. He has a young stay-at-home wife and two young children that live with him in his big house. One day, Joseph is arrested and charged for criminal activity. At the trial, Joseph is found guilty and it is determined that all of his wealth was obtained from his criminal activity. All of his possessions, the expensive cars, boats, big house are confiscated. Joseph’s wife and two young children must move out of the house, they have no other possessions and nowhere to go. Can his wife and young children keep the house? No! Can they keep a car? No! Why not? Because the wealth was illegally obtained (from criminal activity). A legal act cannot result from an illegal act. So even though his wife and children did nothing wrong, they cannot profit/benefit from his illegal acts (criminal acts). They are not entitled to keep Joseph’s wealth. Now to the case at hand: The Constitution of The Bahamas is the highest law in the land; it is the “supreme law.” It is a set of fundamental principles or rules by which a sovereign state (The Bahamas) is governed. The rule of law is a fundamental principle of any constitution, ours is no exception. Any act that is contrary to the rule of law (i.e. that breaks the law) is contrary to the constitution. The constitution cannot condone an illegal act; to do so would render the constitution itself null and void. Now whereas The Constitution of The Bahamas provides for a person born in The Bahamas to parents who are not Bahamian citizens to apply to be registered as a Bahamian upon attaining the age of 18 years, this entitlement may only be afforded to persons who acted according to the rule of law (ie parents that

were in the country legally at the time of birth). An illegal immigrant (illegal is the key word) broke the law, and therefore the child of an illegal immigrant is not entitled to apply to register as a Bahamian because the “entitlement” was illegally obtained. Even though the child did nothing wrong, the child cannot profit/benefit from the illegal act (illegal migration of the parents). The child is not entitled to apply to be registered as a Bahamian. Therefore, all Bahamian citizenships granted in these circumstances are unconstitutional, illegal and therefore void and of no effect. As regards the children of illegal Haitian immigrants, applying the law of the land will not make these children “stateless”. According to Article II of the Haitian Constitution, “any person born of a Haitian father or Haitian mother...possesses Haitian nationality at the time of birth,” therefore the child is a Haitian national at birth. Further, The Constitution of The Bahamas requires that foreign nationals who apply for Bahamian citizenship must first renounce the citizenship of the other country in order to receive Bahamian citizenship. Therefore, even if we assume that these children of Haitian parents are entitled to apply to be registered, given that these children are “Haitian at birth”, did they renounce their Haitian citizenship? If not, then by law, Bahamian citizenship cannot be conferred on these persons, making these grants of citizenship unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect. We are a small country, a few people. Why do we so foolishly give away our country, our birthright? Mr Prime Minister, Mr Attorney General, Mr Minister of Immigration, we are a small country, a few people, please do your job and protect our country, protect our sovereignty, protect our birthright - otherwise we will be a small country, with many people but we won’t be Bahamian. GENERATION BAHAMIAN Nassau, February 6, 2012.


THE TRIBUNE

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, PAGE 5

Nygard ‘outright bribery’ of PLP from page one And those housekeeping matters, Mr Nygard suggested, should be considered along with the understanding that up to that point in time, he would have contributed a total of $45,000 “to the party and some of its members,” a figure the fashion mogul said Mr Christie would agree was “quite significant”. Those “housekeeping matters” ranged from Mr Christie making Mr Nygard’s request to have Crown property included into his land and deeded to him a “legal fact” and for Mr Christie to arrange to have it done via his attorney to Mr Christie securing a certification of the government approving the name change of his property from Simms Point to Nygard Cay. The latter request, Mr Nygard said in the letter, was so that by the time Forbes magazine would go there to do a story on July 17, and when Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous would later hold a “shoot”, the name “Nygard Cay” would be official and those entities could “use it in the promotion of The Bahamas and Nygard Cay”. “I would of course proudly display the certificate on the wall of my present house,” Mr Nygard added. And as the clincher to the favours he was calling in, Mr Nygard wrote: “Obviously this whole world is based on one hand helping the other and you know that I am prepared to do whatever is in my capacity to help out The Bahamas and the PLP party and of course yourself in any way I can.” Mr Smith presented the letters and other court documents for the attention of Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Bain this week. Mr Smith said fast forward to May 14, 2012,

some seven days after the PLP won the general election, Mr Nygard “wasted no time” in reaching out to Mr Christie, who was serving his second non-consecutive term as prime minister, for his “reconsideration” of his previous applications for development and maintenance plans at Nygard Cay. The letter, penned by Mr Nygard’s attorney Melissa Hall, outlines Mr Nygard’s solicitation to the former prime minister for a “continuous dredging permit” for the removal of the buildup of sand on his property; approval for the installation of berms for beach erosion, protection of the marina and the northern shore to protect the property; and approval for formal Crown lease of the bed of the sea for all areas coloured pink on a plan enclosed with the letter. Ms Hall also noted in that letter that Mr Nygard was seeking to further develop Nygard Cay by virtue of an investment in the amount of $50m. The sum would result in a development that would employ 200 Bahamians, however, the letter said the venture would be “subject to your favourable reconsideration for the mentioned applications”. Mr Smith said the contents of Mr Nygard’s two letters to Mr Christie were tantamount to “unadulterated outright bribery”, and that based on the letters, Mr Nygard felt he had the latter “in his pocket”. Mr Smith further submitted that Mr Nygard’s 2012 letter was him calling on the prime minister to “make good” on what he alluded to in his 1992 letter. Mr Smith also hit out at the “sham” the government conducted via the consultation process it embarked upon concerning Mr Nygard’s $50m reconstruction efforts, which, according to a Tribune Business article in April

FRED Smith QC at a previous hearing in the Nygard case.  2013 that Mr Smith brought to the court’s attention, were for the construction of a stem cell researchfocused medical facility at his home. According to court documents, the government issued a public notice on June 18, 2014, concerning Mr Nygard’s reconstruction plans, however, that public notice was in reference to building permit number 116140, which was for “rebuilding fire damaged structures” at Nygard Cay at an estimated cost of $2,644,400, with a payable fee of $3,325.

MURDER TRIAL RESUMES By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

TWO of the weapons used by suspects in the double murder and armed robbery of a Deadman’s Reef couple were never recovered by police, the Supreme Court heard Tuesday as the trial of three accused men resumed in Grand Bahama. Although one of the weapons was recovered, the murder weapon used to kill Barry and Sheena Johnson and an AK-47 assault rifle have not been found.   Surveillance video footage was shown in court of three suspects brandishing weapons at the couple’s home. One suspect was armed with a pistol, another with an assault rifle, and a third with a shotgun.    When Geoffrey Farquharson, lawyer for one of the accused men, questioned lead detective Sgt 772 Lorenzo Johnson about how many weapons were recovered in his investigation, the witness said only one of the guns was found. The lawyer then asked the detective what investigations were conducted into finding the other weapons. The detective said several search warrants were executed, including a search at a house in Pinedale, Eight Mile Rock, for the murder weapon.  Mr Farquharson asked Sgt Johnson whether he could produce a report with respect to those searches, but the officer could not.   The attorney then questioned the witness as to whether his client Paul Belizaire had given a voluntary statement concerning his involvement in the matter.  Mr Johnson said that his client had voluntarily provided a full and frank account of his role in the case.  “If Mr Belizaire was being so cooperative and telling you everything, why didn’t you ask him about the other two weapons?” Mr Farquharson asked.    “Did you ask Belizaire

about where the murder weapons were?” “No,” replied Sgt Johnson. “Would you agree that finding the murder weapon would have advanced the case significantly?” Mr Farquharson asked. Mr Johnson said it would have.  The counsel suggested that failing to ask a witness such a question amounts to “slackness” on his part, but Sgt Johnson disagreed, Mr Farquharson then asked Sgt Johnson about the statements made by several witnesses who had reported seeing Barry Johnson the night he was murdered. He said the statements given by several witnesses about the time they saw Barry Johnson conflicted with the time when the murders allegedly happened, between 9 and 10pm. Mr Farquharson stated that Bruno Parker had given a statement to police about receiving a call from his friend Barry Johnson at 9.37pm on September 12 that three men were at Mr Parker’s house. He said according to his statement it took him about 10 to 15

minutes to get home. “That would mean that Parker would have arrived at his house around 9.50pm and he and Johnson stood around talking for a while, and he received three calls from his wife, and that he would have stopped by his mother’s house before going home would have been around 10.15pm,” suggested Mr Farquharson. Sgt Johnson said he would not know that because he had not interviewed any of the witnesses.  Mr Farquharson then referred to a statement by a neighbour Gail Zamore who reported hearing raised voices outside between 9pm and 10pm on the night in question when in fact a video shows Mr Johnson arriving at home at 10.22pm.  Sgt Johnson said that the times given by witnesses were not exact and were estimated.   Belizaire, Devaughn Hall and Kevin Dames are on trial for the murders and armed robbery. It is alleged that the men went to the couple’s home and robbed them of a set of keys and their GMC truck on September 12, 2015.

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Meanwhile, a letter dated June 7, 2012, from Joy Jibrilu, then-director of investments, stated how the Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) would “revert in due course” to Mr Nygard’s request for the installation of berms and a Crown lease of the sea bed contained in his May 14, 2012, letter to Mr Christie concerning his $50m venture. That letter by Mrs Jibrilu also noted that the BIA was looking forward to receiving details of the $50m proposal to “enable us to process your request”.

Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff According to a letter to then permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister David Davis on August 28, 2010, Mr Nygard said Monte Carlo International Limited had made an application on his behalf for the reconstruction of his residence that was destroyed by fire on November 1, 2009. However, Mr Smith stated in court that there has been no discovery of an application for the reconstruction of Mr Nygard’s property for $50m. The aforementioned

court documents and consequent submissions by Mr Smith came during court proceedings stemming from Mr Nygard’s ongoing battle with Save The Bays over allegations the construction/development activities at his Lyford Cay home have led to a substantial growth of the property. The group claims Mr Nygard has almost doubled the size of his property, from 3.25 acres to 6.1 acres, since he acquired it in 1984, by allegedly reclaiming Crown land from the sea.


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Moultrie secure in confidence challenge from page one Commenting on his expectations, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis added he would give “great news” when Parliament meets again. He did not elaborate further on how the government intended to handle the no confidence motion, which is to be brought by the Official Opposition. This vote follows a two week stand off between the government and the Official Opposition over Mr Moultrie’s disciplinary action on the minority members, resulting in first the suspension and naming of Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin two weeks ago. Cat Island, Rum, Cay and San Salvador MP Philip “Brave” Davis, South Andros and Mangrove Cay MP Picewell Forbes and Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper were then suspended last Wednesday for two sittings. For the vote to be successful, the opposition would need the support of almost every government

member of Parliament. “The government is the majority,” Mr Wells said yesterday when he was asked about the Minnis administration’s confidence level ahead of Parliament today. “As the prime minister has intimated in the dailies today, this is always… with every Free National Movement speaker of the House, every speaker that was appointed by the Free National Movement, just about, has faced a vote of no confidence by the side opposite.” It is unclear specifically which speakers both the prime minister and Mr Wells were referring to, but according to The Tribune’s records only one of the three most recent speakers faced a vote of no confidence. In 2007 the Progressive Liberal Party, then in opposition, moved a motion, which was approved, to hold a no confidence vote in then Speaker Alvin Smith. The decision to move the vote was predicated by then opposition leader, former Prime Minister Perry

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Christie’s attempts to speak raising objections to certain terms used by then prime minister Hubert Ingraham, which were made at a previous sitting. At the time Mr Ingraham had criticised the former PLP government for leaving the Bahamian judicial system in a mess. However, the motion was defeated during debate in the House. At the time, the governing Ingraham administration held the majority in the House, 23 to 18. In 2001, then Coalition for Democratic Reform Leader Bernard Nottage called on former Speaker R Italia Johnson to resign her post in the House and as chairman of the Boundaries Commission for attempting to join the race for leader of the FNM. His calls did not advance past this point. No record could be found of a vote of no confidence in former Speaker Vernon Symonette. He served as speaker under a previous FNM administration in 1992. In a letter sent to the House of Assembly, Mr Davis served notice of his or another minority member’s intention to move a vote of no confidence in the chair.  On Friday, the notice was sent to David Forbes, Acting Chief Clerk in the House of Assembly.

SPEAKER of the House Halson Moultrie. 

Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff


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Wednesday, February 14, 2018, PAGE 7

Mother left distraught at son’s death By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

THE mother of a 36-yearold male pedestrian, who was tragically killed in a traffic accident in Freeport last week, is devastated at losing her only child to a horrible accident, after having survived a similar incident several months ago from which she is still recovering. William Christopher Gibson, 36, of Hudson Estates, Freeport, was walking Friday when he was struck by a tour bus. According to police, he was attempting to cross the street at West Settler’s Way and Coral Road when the accident occurred sometime around 8am.  Gibson died at the scene. It was the island’s second traffic fatality for 2018.  His mother, Lenora Gibson, was recovering

in hospital in New Providence when she received the tragic news of her son’s death last Friday. Mrs Gibson was released from the hospital so that she could return to Grand Bahama to mourn her son. The Tribune spoke with Mrs Gibson at her home in Hudson Estates, where she is confined to her bed with a neck brace for a spinal cord injury.  Framed photographs of her son in his younger years were displayed on a table in the living room and on the dresser in her bedroom.    Last October, Mrs Gibson, a retiree, was struck while walking on the pedestrian crossing near the Rand Memorial Hospital. “I was knocked down on October 1 walking at the Rand Memorial Hospital. I had injuries to my ribs, spinal cord, and collarbone, and I can’t walk,” she said.  Mrs Gibson described

her son as a “loving person” who never bothered anyone. She stated that he suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and was prescribed medication for it. “He was going to work at the (GB) Sports Centre when he was killed. He was my only child. I was lying in the hospital bed when I got the news. I did not expect it would happen to him,” she said. Mrs Gibson said her son died a “cruel death.”   “The bus ran over him, and no one has come to talk to me since this. I have to cremate him because he was mashed up,” she said.  Mrs Gibson has been surrounded by friends and family who are helping her cope with the unfortunate tragedy.    The tour bus involved in the accident is operated by H Forbes Charter Service.  Police are continuing their investigations into the accident. 

WILLIAM CHRISTOPHER GIBSON

BAHAMIANS IN TRINIDAD FOR CARNIVAL ARE ROBBED By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Chief Reporter aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

A DOZEN Bahamians and a taxi driver were robbed at gunpoint while on their way to a Carnival event in Trinidad, according to news reports. Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday reported the group was robbed of cash, cell phones, and jewellery sometime around 10.30pm on Saturday, February 10. Among the reported items

is a gold Rolex watch valued at US$10,000, according to the Newsday report. “The visitors hired the driver of a yellow-band maxi taxi to take them to the Insomnia fete in Chaguaramas,” it read. “In Carenage, the maxi stopped because of traffic. A gunman and his accomplices entered the maxi and robbed the tourists. “The assailants then fled the scene and the driver of the maxi turned around and drove to the Central Police

Station in Port of Spain where he reported the incident.” Trinidad’s Carnival is a world-renowned annual street parade event held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, tomorrow. Parties, called fetes, and other events are planned in the days leading up to the street parade. The Newsday report indicated the Bahamian tourists were left shaken by the ordeal and were making

‘The Bahamas’ own street philosopher’

arrangements to end the trip prematurely. “The victims said they were advised about the crime situation in the country but never thought they would be victims,” the report continued. “Some of them told police that they came to Trinidad before and their stay here was incident free until now. They have vowed not to return until the crime situation is dealt with.” The report continued: “One of the visitors told

Newsday, in (their) country people sleep with their windows open and move about without the fear of becoming victims of crime.” The report continued: “She said Saturday’s incident will remain etched in her mind forever. The visitor was thankful no one was injured, but said she was anxious to return home.”  The US State Department ranks Trinidad and Tobago’s crime situation as Level 1, and advises its citizens to exercise “normal”

precautions while in the country. Meanwhile, The Bahamas is ranked at Level 2, with the US State Department advising visitors to exercise “increased caution” due to crime. Investigations into the matter are ongoing, according to the Newsday report, which noted a team of officers was also responding to other reports of robberies from persons heading to the Insomnia fete on Saturday night.


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Black Lives Matter in The Bahamas too I

T’S open season, but don’t worry. They’ll only kill the people they recognise, and only if they’re afraid. The Royal Bahamas Police Force is on a mission and no one cares to intervene. Many in The Bahamas have looked on and formed strong opinions of the Black Lives Matter movement and the actions it has taken in response to statesanctioned killings by police officers. We often feel farremoved from events in the US, especially where issues of race are concerned. Black Lives Matter is necessary because black people were — and continue to be — specifically targeted by police. Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th gave context to the issues of race, policing, and prisons experienced today, linking them to the historical oppression of black people from slavery to the prison industrial complex. Again, we have mentally distanced ourselves from what we read as a US-issue. For most of us, the majority of the people we encounter on a daily basis are black. Our police officers are black. Surely that means we cannot experience racism. That has to mean black people will be treated fairly and we are free of the oppression African-Americans suffer. Right? If you hold those opinions, you are definitely wrong. There are two things we need to be aware of — internalised racism and institutional racism. Internalised racism is learned. As we experience racism, we begin to develop ideas and behaviours that uphold racism. It is systemic, structural and cross-cultural, so it can pit members of oppressed communities against each other. Think, for example, of how women can internalise misogyny, and begin to support the idea that we would all be better off if we dress and behave in particular ways, finding it easy to look down on a woman of different socioeconomic status, age, or marital status. Internalised racism functions in a similar way. He wouldn’t be pulled over if he would just cut his hair. Stop driving that Honda. Move with less people in his crew. Stay out of that

BULLET holes in a car at the scene of a police-involved shooting in Carmichael. 

area. We find excuses for people to be violated by those who hold power. Institutional racism is enforced. It is a pattern of treating a group of people poorly because of their race. Examples include students being sent home from school because their natural hair does not meet the Eurocentric beauty standards. As in this example, the action seems to fit a rule or standard of the institution; not because it is valid, but because the institution was built for the benefit and service of white people. We don’t have to know it is happening to participate

in it. Just two years ago, I heard police officers brag about chasing young black men out of the downtown area, sending them “back Ova Da Hill”. Hearing this, I asked them who The Bahamas is for, and why they think they can restrict people’s movement based on race, age and gender. They could not respond and were forced to acknowledge, among other issues, institutional bias coupled with internalised racism. The rhetoric around police killing civilians is ludicrous. People would more readily excuse homicide than interrogate the

Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

practices of police officers and proximity to a weapon on the street. The assump- are all valid reasons to tion is always the person meet your demise. Did must have we believe ‘The rhetoric around that Traydone something police killing civilians von Martin wrong for should the police is ludicrous. People have been to be would more readily shot for engaged, walking excuse homicide and if they through a have done than interrogate the neighboursomething practices of police hood with wrong — officers on the street. a bag of whatever it Skittles? is — they The assumption is The deserve Royal always the person death. The must have done Bahamas entire jusPolice tice system something wrong Force’s goes out of for the police to press team the window has learned be engaged, and because to use “in we find it if they have done fear for more expe- something wrong their lives” dient for to convince the police — whatever it is — us there to operate they deserve death.’ was a good like vigireason lantes. We do not believe to shoot and kill a citipeople are innocent until zen. There is a popular proven guilty. Location, opinion that fear is a reaappearance, association sonable excuse for firing a weapon to kill another person. In a social media post, Erin Greene said, “The constant response of ‘in fear’ suggests an emotional response, and not a determination made with critical reasoning skills.” This should terrify rather than assuage us. Are police officers not taught to think critically and consider all options? Even if the decision is to shoot, why shoot to kill rather than incapacitate? Sure, police officers need to make quick decisions. It is also a reasonable expectation that they are sufficiently trained and able to police themselves. Police officers are not the judge or the jury. They should not be the executioner, especially given the ruling of the Privy Council on the death penalty. Wait. Perhaps this is the RBPF’s way of carrying out the death penalty. It is entirely possibly they, as has been rumoured, are fed up with the justice system. They are tired of making arrests, putting their lives in danger and waiting for verdicts. Maybe they are tired of seeing the people they arrested out on bail for extended periods of time, or being found innocent. Is this an informal strategy? Do not be tricked into believing in a false dichotomy. A commenter on social media said, “We are at a junction in our development where we have to decide on whose

side we are on; the police or the heartless criminal.” We must first understand that every person police officers encounter is not a criminal. Even if they are suspects, they have the right to a fair trial. Fighting on the side of criminals is not the same as demanding due process for all. It is not the same as acknowledging the value of a life. A text message to a radio talk show read (in part), “police have to get royal”, meaning they need to take extreme action to send a clear message. This is how the people around us are thinking. There have been six killings by police in 2018, and 11 since November 2017. Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said, “the focus on counts shouldn’t be the issue”. Just last month, he reminded the PLP there were 33 homicides in the first two months of 2017, and in September 2017, he noted crime was down 19 percent along with other statistics. Numbers are obviously important, and we need to pay attention to trends. Dames, less than one year into the job, is shirking responsibility. He said of police officers, “[if] he or she feels threatened, I can’t make that decision for them. They have to make that for themselves.” So much for accountability. Zero tolerance only applies to civilians, and police officers can do as they please, so long as they feel fearful or threatened. What a licence to have. Is any one else scared out there? Dames would also have us believe it is excusable that most people killed by police this year were “known to police”. We all know people in this category, for various reasons, who do not have a criminal record. They may wear their pants low or have dreadlocks and may have spent nights in the police station, but they are not criminals. That’s just too bad. They are known to the police and it’s open season. What number must we reach, who must be killed, or which scripture do we need to read and understand to intervene in state violence and affirm the humanity of the black Bahamian people we know, do not know, and are “known” to the police?    


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Wednesday, February 14, 2018, PAGE 11

Trying to stop the anger before it becomes killing By MORGAN ADDERLEY Tribune Staff Reporter madderley@tribunemedia.net 

CHILDHOOD trauma, anger, dysfunction and abuse are some of the reasons behind prevalent teen violence in The Bahamas, according to members of The Family: People Helping People, an interventionist organisation. According to distinguished psychiatrist Dr David Allen, the group’s founder, the average age of a murderer in The Bahamas is between 16 to 25 years. Such a disturbing statistic is what inspired Dr Allen to create the organisation that seeks to help young people “deal with their anger before their anger gets them”. Spearheaded by Dr Allen, The Family consists of a “passionate

DR DAVID ALLEN team of community leaders”, including chief therapist Denie Fountain, community outreach therapist Mark Beckford and director of research Keva Bethell. In a recent interview with The Tribune, these individuals discussed the factors behind the epidemic of youth violence in the country, the goals of the programme and the organisation’s recommendations

for holistic, nationwide solutions to crime. “What happens in childhood traumatises you in adulthood,” said Ms Bethell. Her research has confirmed that anger, violence, grief, relational dysfunction, abuse and depression are the six major issues contributing to the epidemic of teen violence in The Bahamas and elsewhere. She uses three tests which are administered to The Family attendees to help draw these conclusions. In a previous interview, Dr Allen told The Tribune: “The interesting thing which is really fascinating for us is that we find these young people are deeply hurt. They have really socially deprived backgrounds, but… they are depressed (and) they have a high rate of anger. “But the sad thing is,

on the (PTSD) test, 86 per cent of them score in the danger realm. Which means that already, they are so deeply hurt in their hearts, they have murderous rage, they have poor impulse control. “So when put together in a group, through the herd instinct, they could hurt people or kill.” Although all are invited to attend, The Family is a court-ordered adolescent programme. Young people can attend sessions for six months to two years in exchange for their legal consequences being eliminated. However, the leaders were quick to clarify that The Family “(is) not a sentence, it’s a development”. Since its inception in 2016, over 120 young men and women have participated in these sessions. The bi-weekly youth

sessions include individualised therapy with Ms Fountain and group therapy with Mr Beckford. Topics range from anger management to communication skills. The weekly parents’ sessions help adults understand their children’s language — from “the silent treatment” to larger cries for help like self-harm. Mr Beckford also makes a point to go out into communities and meet attendees on their own turf. He told The Tribune: “If you’re drowning, you (don’t) drown in the boat. You drown out there in the water. So now if the kids are drowning out there, who’s going to swim out there to save (them)?” These findings have also inspired The Family to make national

recommendations to solve crime. These include a Citizen’s Security Council, which would be an intersectional organisation that treats crime as “not just a law enforcement problem” but also a public health issue. It should include representatives from all sectors of society, including the private sphere. Other suggestions include seeking international solutions to crime, implementing mandatory national service, and instituting curfews in high-crime zones.   However, prevention is still central to The Family’s message. As Ms Fountain said: “We’ve had a good number of kids that passed through the programme already and… we’ve seen a lot of turnaround in them. We know we can’t reach all, but realise that if we reach one, we could make a difference.”

NEMA TEAM VISITS REBUILT HOMES DIRECTOR of the National Emergency Management Agency Captain Stephen Russell led a technical team to three islands to inspect recently-built homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Joaquin in 2015. The team comprised personnel from the structural, plumbing and electrical areas of the

Ministry of Works, and a technical officer from the National Recovery and Reconstruction Unit (NRRU). The team went to San Salvador, Rum Cay and Long Island on Monday, January 22. The homes, part of Hurricane Joaquin Reconstruction Phase II, were built at an estimated cost of $1m. 

NEWLY-built homes on Rum Cay, above, and Long Island, below.

On Long Island, six homes were built bringing the total to 18 completed on that island. On Rum Cay, two homes were completed, and on San Salvador, one home. These homes of up to three bedrooms were handed over to nine families on those islands. The homeowners were assessed in the aftermath of Joaquin and qualified for reconstruction of homes based on these protocols: the elderly, the disabled, and single parent. While on Rum Cay, the technical team took the opportunity to inspect the construction of the dock and boat ramp.  Captain Russell thanked the homeowners for their patience and the contractors for their high standards in quality of work. He said plans are underway to move “full speed ahead” to assist individuals impacted by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma of 2016 and 2017, respectively. 

CAPTAIN Stephen Russell in the NEMA warehouse in Inagua.

GN-2003

CONTRACTORS put finishing touches on newly built home on San Salvador.  Photos:NEMA


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Soup kitchen and stores team up to feed Grand Bahamians By DENISE MAYCOCK Tribune Freeport Reporter dmaycock@tribunemedia.net  BENIA Dean has started a sidewalk soup kitchen that feeds hundreds of people on Grand Bahama every week, and now she is partnering with two local food stores to have collection bins placed at their establishments. The Grand Bahama Soup Kitchen feeds on average 200 people on the sidewalk at the West Mall Shopping Plaza in downtown Freeport, according to Ms Dean, the programme’s coordinator.

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The goal is to secure a physical space for a community centre and food pantry to sustain the soup kitchen. “Right now, we are gearing up to get our physical location; we have identified a spot at the West Mall and are launching a food drive in partnership with Express Food Mart and Sawyer’s Fresh Market,” said Ms Dean. She stated that collection bins would be at the stores so that customers can donate purchased food items to the soup kitchen to help build up their pantry. “We are very appreciative to the operators of Express Food Mart and Sawyer’s

Fresh Market for allow- and many have been coming ing us to do this. It is about out to receive assistance. Grand Bahamians and busi“We feed on average 200 nesses coming together to people. We give tickets to help the less fortunate in a Social Services for their tangible way,” she said. clients, and we don’ t turn Ms Dean noted that many anyone away who asks for persons are affected by something to eat. the economic downturn in “We are seeing mothers Grand Bahama. with children, and espe“I think there was a cially elderly people. But, need before the economic the biggest issue we are downturn, but it is more vis- having is being able to idenible now,” she said. “Grand tify working persons who Bahamians have a lot of are in need because they pride, and if someone is in are least likely to come need you may not know, but out. We are trying to put the economy has brought together a programme to this problem to the forefront, anonymously give to those and I think that people A3MAIN are persons and help them,” willing to ask for assistance, she explained.

Helping people is nothing new for Ms Dean, who does a lot of community outreach with her church. A couple of years ago, she started a children’s cooking camp at the YMCA and donated the proceeds to the Grand Bahama Children’s Home. She said that the soup kitchen initially started as a church event. “I got volunteers, and through dialogue with Social Services, I realised that there is a huge gap in what needs to be done and what was being done and that is  why I started to do this,” she said.

Anger at police as family search for missing father By NICO SCAVELLA Tribune Staff Reporter nscavella@tribunemedia.net THE daughter of a missing 89-year-old man suffering from dementia yesterday expressed disappointment in the lack of “police support” in locating her elderly father. Laurel Lundy, the daughter of Charles Lightbourne, said her family has not heard anything from police since concerned relatives reported Mr Lightbourne missing on Saturday evening. According to Mrs Lundy, Mr Lightbourne was last seen between noon to 5pm on Saturday “in the fields” of the family’s expansive property on Carmichael Road west, which she estimated to be about 20 acres in size. She said her father was last seen in a light-blue, long-sleeved shirt with short blue jeans and a “blue sailor hat.” Family members said Mr Lightbourne is 5’10”.

Mrs Lundy said when family members did not hear from Mr Lightbourne on Saturday evening, they called police for help. Mrs Lundy said she and her older sister both went to the Carmichael Road police station as well as the Central Detective Unit (CDU) on Saturday and Sunday to report the matter. “Now this is Monday, mid-Monday evening, and I don’t see any police support,” Mrs Lundy said. “Nobody has been here. And this is a big property. And I told (the officers) I thought we needed the (search) dogs because this is a big property.” Making matters worse, Mrs Lundy said, is the fact that her father suffers from dementia, a condition he was diagnosed with after suffering severe injuries from a brutal beating he received from an unknown assailant earlier this year. The attack was so gruesome that Mr Lightbourne lost his left eye and suffered

CHARLES LIGHTBOURNE, LIGHTBOURNE, who who suffers has been missing for nearly twogone years. CHARLES from dementia and has missing. huge gashes on his head and now two nights he slept posting on the street and nose from being repeatedly out.” in businesses in addition hit with a shovel and a piece Mrs Lundy said family to digital media,” she said. of wood. members have visited the “It’s on Whatsapp, it’s on “Since the incident in morgue, as well as the Ac- Facebook, Instagram – so February, he’s been diag- cident and Emergency sec- we’re getting it around. It’s nosed with dementia, and tion at the Princess Marga- just that I don’t feel the pohe’s not been himself since ret Hospital(PMH) since lice support.” then,” she added. “You Saturday, but their efforts In early March, The Tribknow he lost his eye in yielded no results. une reported that Mr Lightthat attack. He hasn’t reStill, Mrs Lundy said bourne had been beaten ally accepted it because he relatives, friends and con- near his home by a suspectbelieves he’s going to see cerned church members are ed thief. At the time, his again. And so he holds on helping in the search, and family claimed police had when he moves, because he will continue to dissemi- not been proactive in their doesn’t really see that well. nate Mr Lightbourne’s in- investigation and alleged “But when he’s having formation on social media they were told by officers to episodes of delusion, he and on flyers in hopes of take their own pictures bedoesn’t know who he is. locating the elderly man as cause crime scene person“Daddy doesn’t sleep soon as possible. nel were “not available at out,” she added. “This is “We’re in the process of the time.” By AVA TURNQUEST from an intruder and a later diagnosis of Tribune Chief Reporter dementia. aturnquest@tribunemedia.net “Two weeks after his birthday he was attacked,” Mr Lundy said. “Someone came LOVED ones have sent out tearful but on his property and attacked him. He said hope-filled birthday wishes this week for a the individual was laughing while throw91-year-old patriarch who has been missing ing rocks and broke a shovel over his head. for nearly two years. The ministry’s statement procedures offered thehis left against They by beat eye Zika. out of his head. It Yesterday, Martin Lundy told The Tribcontinued: “Bahamians Ministry of Health, warn- and Thefrom World Orwas terrifying thenHealth we moniune his family clings strongly the all faithresidents his tored travelling to Florida should toing travelling ganisation that him closely. One of has my advised aunts came grandfather Charles instilled be aware that whileLightbourne the to these areas toinwear clothat leaststuff six to stay with persons him. Shewait was putting in his offspring, that all things ing are that possible boat, he wastolefttry byfor himself on number of reported cases covers on allthe areas of and months a pregwith God, even his return. themosquito property – nancy when she came backpartner home in Florida is small, anyone the body, wear if the male “All things possible God,” Mr was areas gone.” had symptoms of Zika. travelling thereare should alsowith repellent, and he avoid Lundyappropriate said, “and that was something that The attack wasTosodate, gruesome thatbeen Mr take precauwhere mosquitoes are likely there have he taught his family. Faith and belief in Lightbourne left eye andcases suffered tions. The disease is more to congregate, like large lost fivehis confirmed in God. As aintestament who pools he was, we huge gashes onTurks his head nose 15 from prevalent Brazil. to The of water. and and Caicos, in have to keep faithinthat be found. tobeing repeatedly hit with shovel and a number of the cases thehe willAccording health of- Florida anda an estimated The family is still desperate ficials, for answers of wood. 170,000 in Brazil. Turks and Caicos is small. Zika is piece a mosquitoand we wish him a happy birthday wher- andHe was diagnosed with dementia follow“The symptoms of the borne disease may also ever he is.” ing the incident, according to his daughter disease include headaches, be sexually transmitted. Mr and Lightbourne’s 91stthe birthday was on Laurel fever pain around International healthLundy, of- who spoke to The Tribune Monday.Pregnant His mysterious disappearance on long shortly following his disappearance in 2016. eyes. women ficials have warned August be 6, especially 2016 followed of harthe incident in February, he’s been should care-a series women who are “Since pregnant rowing eventsaffecting includingthe a savage beating diagnosed with dementia, and he’s not been ful, as cases or intend to get pregnant himselfguard since then,” she said at the time. health of unborn children that they should “You know he lost his eye in that attack. have been reported. There He hasn’t really accepted it because he are also rare cases of pabelieves he’s going to see again. And so ralysis associated with Zika he holds on when he moves, because he infections.” doesn’t really see that well. Officials within the Min“But when he’s having episodes of deluistry of Foreign Affairs sion, he doesn’t know who he is. and Immigration further “Daddy doesn’t sleep out,” she added. adopted the systems and “This is now two nights he slept out.” Now nearly two year’s later, Mr Lundy said the family continue to hope for his safe return. “There has been no word from him, no sign,” Mr Lundy said. “He had recently been diagnosed with a mild form of dementia but he never did this before, he still had his wits about him. He would have been 91 on Monday (February) the 12th. YOUR CHOICE FOR THE FAMILY “So we’re wishing him a happy birthday, wherever he is,” he added, “we’re still WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/JOYFM1019 praying and hoping.”

A BIRTHDAY WISH TO FIND LOST GRANDFATHER

TRAVEL WARNING ISSUED OVER ZIKA VIRUS By RICARDO WELLS Tribune Staff Reporter rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has issued a travel advisory connected to the global Zika epidemic, warning Bahamian travellers of a scourge in cases in Brazil and the Wynwood area of Miami, Florida. The advisory came a week after US health agencies warned against travel to the Florida neighbourhood and months after warning against travel to Brazil. In a comprehensive statement to the press, the ministry insisted that Bahamians travelling to both Miami and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the Summer Olympics take “appropriate precautions” to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. The statement also urged that similar precautions be taken by travellers heading to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration wishes to advise Bahamians travelling to Brazil and to the United States in Florida, in the city of Miami in particular, of reports of the Zika virus in those places. In Miami, the virus has been discovered to be most prevalent in the Wynwood area of the city,” the advisory indicated. “There have also been cases of local transmission reported in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The virus is mosquito-borne. The ministry wishes to offer guidance to people travelling to those places or anywhere that the Zika virus has been reported. “Bahamians travelling to both cities, Miami and to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the Summer Olympics, August 5-21, are reminded to take proper precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Those precautions would also arise in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

Tues


THE TRIBUNE

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, PAGE 13

Police say Netanyahu should be charged with corruption JERUSALEM Associated Press ISRAELI police on Tuesday recommended that Benjamin Netanyahu be indicted on bribery and breach of trust charges in two corruption cases, dealing an embarrassing blow to the embattled prime minister that is likely to fuel calls for him to resign. Netanyahu angrily rejected the accusations, which included accepting nearly $300,000 in gifts from two billionaires. He accused police of being on a witch hunt and vowed to remain in office and even seek re-election. “I will continue to lead the state of Israel

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU responsibly and loyally as long as you, the citizens of Israel, choose me to lead you,” an ashen-faced Netanyahu said in a televised address. “I am sure that the truth will come to light. And I am sure that also in the next election that will take place on time I will win

your trust again, with God’s help.” The recommendations marked a dramatic ending to a more than yearlong investigation into allegations that Netanyahu accepted gifts from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer, and suspicions that he offered to give preferential treatment to a newspaper publisher in exchange for favorable coverage. The recommendations now go to Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit, who will review the material before deciding whether to file charges. Netanyahu can remain in office during that process, which is expected

to drag on for months. But with a cloud hanging over his head, he could soon find himself facing calls to step aside. During similar circumstances a decade ago, Netanyahu, as opposition leader, urged then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign during a police investigation, saying a leader “sunk up to his neck in interrogations” could not govern properly. In the immediate aftermath of the police announcement, reactions quickly fell along partisan lines. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, a bitter rival of Netanyahu, called on him to suspend himself and for the coalition to appoint

a replacement on Wednesday morning. “The depth of corruption is horrifying,” Barak said. “This does not look like nothing. This looks like bribery.” But key members of Netanyahu’s Likud Party rallied behind him. Cabinet Minister Miri Regev said she was “not excited” by the police recommendations and urged patience while the attorney general reviews the case. She said the biggest surprise was that Yair Lapid, leader of the opposition Yesh Atid party, had been a witness. David Amsalem, another Netanyahu confidant, called Lapid a “snitch”.

SOUTH Africa President Jacob Zuma.

ZUMA ORDERED TO RESIGN BY RULING PARTY JOHANNESBURG Associated Press

SOUTH Africa’s ruling party on Tuesday disowned President Jacob Zuma after sticking with him through years of scandals, ordering him to resign in an attempt to resolve a leadership crisis that has disrupted government business in one of Africa’s biggest economies. The announcement by the African National Congress did not immediately end the protracted turmoil in a party that was the main movement against white minority rule and has led South Africa since apartheid ended in 1994. If the politically isolated president defies the party’s order, the matter could go to parliament for a motion of no confidence that would further embarrass the party once led by Nelson Mandela. Ace Magashule, the ANC’s secretary-general, said he expected Zuma to reply to the directive on Wednesday. Another senior party official suggested that Zuma would be unwise to flout the edict of the party, which is eager to recover from internal disarray ahead of 2019 elections. “A disciplined cadre of the ANC, you are given a chance to resign on your own, but if you lack discipline you will resist,” party chairman Gwede Mantashe said at a provincial rally, according to South African media. “Once you resist, we are going to let you be thrown out through the vote of no confidence because you disrespect the organization and you disobey it, therefore we are going to let you be devoured by the vultures,” Mantashe said. Business leaders welcomed the ANC’s decision to recall Zuma, saying the country needs to focus on economic growth and address social problems such as unemployment. ANC leaders must act “swiftly, but constitutionally” to remove Zuma so the “work of recovering our future, which was

imperiled by his ruinous regime — characterized by incompetence, corruption, state capture and low economic growth — can begin in earnest,” said Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa, a group that promotes development. “State capture” is a term used in South Africa to describe the alleged looting of state enterprises by associates of Zuma, who denies any wrongdoing. A judicial commission is about to start a probe of those allegations. Separately, Zuma could face corruption charges tied to an arms deal two decades ago. The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said Tuesday that it had been informed by the chief prosecutor that his team will provide its recommendation on Feb. 23 about whether to prosecute Zuma on the old charges. The charges had been thrown out but the opposition fought successfully to get them reinstated. In another scandal, South Africa’s top court ruled in 2016 that Zuma violated the constitution following an investigation of multimillion-dollar upgrades to his private home using state money. “We are determined to restore the integrity of the public institutions, create political stability and urgent economic recovery,” said Magashule, once a staunch supporter of Zuma. The ANC secretary-general spoke respectfully of Zuma, saying he had “not been found guilty by any court of law” and that the decision to recall him was not taken because he had done “anything wrong.” Zuma had agreed to resign and wanted to stay in office for several more months, but the national executive committee decided at a 13-hour meeting that he had to leave at once, Magashule said. The ANC said it wants Zuma to be replaced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was elected party leader in December and has vowed

to fight corruption. Zuma, who took office in 2009 and is in his second five-year term, has not made any public appearances in recent days. Government leaders hope the standoff can be resolved ahead of the unveiling of the national budget in parliament on Feb. 21, which would go some way toward reassuring investors that the

country is getting back on track. Zuma did not give the state of the nation address last week because of the political crisis, and a regular Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed. A motion of no confidence sponsored by an opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, has been scheduled for Feb. 22 in parliament.

Opposition parties want the vote moved up to this week and then want parliament to be dissolved so that early elections can be held. Zuma has survived similar motions in the past, but ruling party members now see him as a political liability ahead of next year’s elections and likely would vote against him on the orders of the party leadership.

FBI CHIEF CONTRADICTS WHITE HOUSE

WASHINGTON (AP) — Contradicting the White House, the FBI said Tuesday it gave the Trump administration information on multiple occasions last year about a top aide accused of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives, and the investigation wrapped up in January. That account by FBI Director Christopher Wray challenged the White House assertion that Rob Porter’s background “investigation was ongoing” and officials first learned the extent of accusations against him only last week, just before he abruptly resigned. Wray’s testimony marked the latest development in a scandal that has called into question the judgment of senior members of the White House staff, put new stress on the administration’s already strained credibility with the public, and drawn accusations of tone-deaf handling of abuse allegations. The week-long fallout from the allegations against Porter, President Donald Trump’s staff secretary, has thrown the West Wing into chaos not seen since the earliest months of the administration and has sparked new rounds of recriminations inside the White House. Privately, officials acknowledge that the public timeline offered last week — that the administration first learned of the ex-wives’ charges against Porter last Tuesday — was flawed at best. Several senior officials, including chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn, were aware of the broad allegations against Porter for months, officials said. Kelly found out after requesting an update on the large number of senior staffers operating without full security clearances, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions. McGahn told Kelly last fall there was concern about information in the background investigation involving Porter’s ex-wives, the official said, and Kelly expressed surprise that Porter had previously been married. Despite that, Porter took on an increasingly central role in the West Wing and was reportedly under consideration to serve as Trump’s deputy chief of staff.


PAGE 14, Wednesday, February 14, 2018

THE TRIBUNE

US SAYS EX-VENEZUELA OIL CZAR TOOK BRIBES BOGOTA, Colombia Associated Press

US prosecutors say Venezuela’s former oil czar received bribes as part of a major graft scheme that allegedly took place in the OPEC nation’s oil industry, an American official familiar with the probe said. Rafael Ramirez, who was one of Venezuela’s most powerful officials until he quit as the country’s UN ambassador in December, was named as a bribe recipient although he was not

charged in an indictment against five other former senior officials that was partially unsealed Monday. In the indictment, prosecutors in Houston allege two of the charged individuals told businessmen that proceeds from bribes they made in exchange for quick payments and contracts with Venezuela’s state-run oil giant PDVSA would be shared with a senior Venezuelan official, identified in the unsealed portion as “Official B”. That unidentified

Venezuelan politician is Ramirez, a US official told The Associated Press. The official agreed to talk about the case only on condition of anonymity due to lack of authorisation to discuss the matter. In 2016, Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly said $11 billion went missing at PDVSA in the 2004-2014 period when Ramirez was in charge of the company. In 2015, the US Treasury Department accused a bank in Andorra of laundering some $2

billion stolen from PDVSA. Ramirez denied any involvement in corruption schemes at PDVSA when contacted by the AP on Tuesday. He declined further comment, but in the past has dismissed the US probe as a politically motivated attempt to undermine President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government. After resigning his UN post, Ramirez left the United States for an undisclosed location, and he did not respond to a request seeking comment.

VENEZUELA’s former Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez.

02142018 news  
02142018 news  
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